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    Revisiting the European horsemeat scandal: the role of power asymmetry in the food supply chain crisis

    Madichie, N. and Yamoah, Fred (2017) Revisiting the European horsemeat scandal: the role of power asymmetry in the food supply chain crisis. Thunderbird International Business Review 59 (6), pp. 663-675. ISSN 1096-4762.

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    Power dependency plays a critical role in supply chain relationships management but little attention has been paid to the nature of mutual dependence between single supplier-multiple buyer relationships where major retailers are the weaker partners. This study explores the concept of power asymmetry in the food supply chain especially in relation to the channel conflict, and ultimate breakdown that culminated in the infamous European horsemeat scandal in Europe. The study draws upon the social exchange and power-dependency theories to understand the buyer/supplier power imbalance and uses the European horsemeat scandal test-bed for posturing better risk management. The central proposition of this study is that power asymmetry/ imbalance contributed to a supplier culture that tolerated unethical decision making. The contribution, therefore, lies in the use of an extensive literature review of the power dependency and social exchange theories as a means of understanding what went wrong with the meat supplier decision making in the horsemeat saga and more importantly how future occurrence of similar unethical decision making may be forestalled. There are implications on how to develop a better understanding of supply chain coordination and multi-supplier relationships. It is also suggested that a sustainable product sourcing can also become an effective way to balance power asymmetry in the meat supply chain. The practical implication of the study is captured as guidance for practicing managers.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the article, which has been published in final form at the link above. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Business School
    Depositing User: Fred Yamoah
    Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2019 15:41
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:47


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